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Rushden Echo, 27th September 1901, transcribed by Greville Watson
Fatal Cycle Accident in Rushden

An inquest to enquire into the circumstances attending the death of Hannah Pettitt, a widow of 75, of Irchester, who was knocked down by a cyclist in the High Street, Rushden, on Monday, and who subsequently died, was held yesterday morning at the Vestry Hall, before Mr J C Parker. Mr F Cowley was foreman of the jury.

Sarah Ann Langford, of York Road, said the deceased was her aunt. On Monday deceased was brought to witness’s house, where she was attended to. She was conscious, and told witness that she had a bicycle accident near Cave’s factory. Deceased said there was no blame attached to anyone. She died on Tuesday at 8pm.

Harold Morris, or 76 Wellingborough Road, a stonemason, stated that on Monday, at the time of the accident, about 5pm, he was in the High Street, outside Mr Willmott’s shop. Deceased was crossing the road, and two cyclists were coming down the hill. The first had difficulty in passing her, on account of the crowd, and there was also a trap at the side of the road. Both rang their bells, and the second rider caught the hind wheel of the first rider, and tried to jump off his bicycle. When he jumped off he caught his shoulder against the old lady, and she fell down. The cyclists were going at a walking pace. Witness did not think deceased saw the cyclists. As far as witness could see it was purely an accident, and the cyclists were doing their best to get out of her way. The deceased was helped up, and walked over and sat on the path. She did not seem much hurt. It appeared that the cyclist caught the deceased’s shoulder, and she fell on her back.

Edward Nicholson, of Higham Ferrers, testified that on Monday he was cycling through Rushden with a companion about 5pm. When in the High Street, as they passed the Restaurant the old lady was walking up the street. Witness was cycling behind his friend. When witness first saw deceased, she was about six yards off him. Both rang their bells. His companion tried to pass between deceased and a cart that was standing still, and as he got level with her she walked towards the cart. His friend turned sharply and got by her but as witness turned his front wheel caught his friend’s back wheel, and witness fell. He caught deceased on her shoulder with his left shoulder. They were going about five or six miles an hour. Deceased complained of her back, but did not seem very badly hurt. Witness and his companion went to York Road, and waited till the doctor had been.

Joseph Wadsworth, of Higham Ferrers, gave evidence that on Monday he was cycling down High Street with the last witness. When near Cave’s factory they saw deceased walking up the middle of the road. Both rang their bells, and as they neared deceased she turned towards the side of the road, towards a cart standing there. He turned to the right, and cleared her. Nicholson’s front wheel caught his back wheel, and Nicholson fell. Witness immediately dismounted, and saw Nicholson getting up, and his machine and the deceased on the ground. Some ambulancemen attended to the deceased. They were not riding above six miles an hour, and when they saw deceased they slowed up.

Dr Owen said he was called to see deceased about 5.45pm on Monday. She was in great pain, but no bones were broken. She was very sick. She stated no one was to blame. He saw her again about 10pm, when she appeared much worse, and she told him she had been ruptured for several years. She died from internal injuries caused by the fall. She had every attention.

Mr Wm Clarke, a juryman, asked if they did right in giving deceased a little mild brandy and water. Dr Owen replied in the affirmative.

Verdict was in accordance with the medical testimony.

The jury considered no one was to blame.

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